Match Report: Chelsea 2-0 Manchester City

Chelsea ran out deserved winners in the resurrected Women’s Community Shield at Wembley with defender Millie Bright showing how to finish on a day when her famously more prolific team mate Sam Kerr was below par.

Manchester City will point to the controversial sending off of Jill Scott just past the hour mark for a second bookable offence as the moment the game changed, however it would be equally fair to highlight the fact that had Sam Kerr’s finishing been up to standard, they would have been well out of the game by the time of Scott’s departure.

Chelsea gave a competitive debut to German midfielder Melanie Leupolz and also welcomed back Fran Kirby after many months on the sidelines. Fellow summer signings Jessie Fleming and Niamh Charles appeared from the bench.
For City, summer signing Chloe Kelly started and USWNT star Sam Mewis made an appearance off of the bench.

The Sky Blues were on the attack from the off and forced a corner within fifteen seconds. Kelly’s in swinger was gathered by Ann-Katrin Berger.

Chelsea constructed their first chance on three minutes when Ji So-yun played an inch perfect ball through to Sam Kerr, but the Matildas star’s effort went into the side netting.

It was noticeable that new Manchester City coach Gareth Taylor had introduced a more patient passing build-up in the early stages, and the West Londoners were more than happy to sit off.

Ji continued her dominant start by playing in Guru Reiten who won a foul from Steph Houghton.

City fashioned their first real opening on the twenty-second minute mark when Georgia Stanway hit a half volley towards the top left corner, but Berger reached the ball comfortably. Shortly afterwards a dangerous free-kick on the right from Chloe Kelly found Houghton, but the Lionesses star couldn’t quite get on the end of it.

The Sky Blues momentum was broken as Lauren Hemp cruelly pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring twinge, and she was brought off as a precaution. Canadian international Janine Beckie came on with Chloe Kelly taking Hemp’s position.

As the half wore on, Fran Kirby’s influence grew down the right and she looked to find Sam Kerr. It was City though, through Kelly once more that fashioned another great opportunity. She glided past four attempted Chelsea tackles as Maren Mjelde, Fran Kirby, Millie Bright, and Magdelena Eriksson all failed to stop the former Everton flyer from playing a ball across the box which an offside Beckie tapped in.

Kirby then combined with Ji through the middle before the South Korean was felled on the edge of the box by Jill Scott. The resulting free-kick in the ‘D’, just left of centre rebounded off of Eriksson’s back and into the path of Kerr who headed wide.

Stanway had another ferocious effort for City three minutes later which forced Berger into a fine save. Kelly’s follow up crashed back off of the left post.

Less than a minute later, Kerr let another chance go begging when the Fremantle born Australian saw off Houghton but her shot went wide. Chelsea had two further opportunities through Maren Mjelde before the break – the first blocked by Gemma Bonner with Ellie Roebuck saving the second. It remained goalless at the break.

Fran Kirby started the second half as she ended the first by going on a glorious run and playing in Kerr who appeared certain to score, but could only side foot the ball wide again. Shortly afterwards Demi Stokes got back well to put the Australian off as she went to hit another effort.
From City’s perspective, Chloe Kelly was once again involved in the best of their offensive efforts. She cut in off her wing and pulled off a magnificent shot from outside of the box which Berger held. On the hour mark, there was another great piece of build-up play when a lovely ball from Keira Walsh set Jill Scott away and her ‘through-the-eye-of-the-needle-pass’ found Stanway beautifully before the danger was cleared.

Just two minutes after that came Scott’s final act. The Lioness went into a challenge with Ji So-yun and on the follow through, her knee make contact with the South Korean. Referee Rebecca Welch adjudged it a yellow card offence, and with Scott already been booked, she was then shown a red. It was certainly possible to feel sympathy for Scott as two committed players went for the ball.

To add rub salt into City wounds, just four minutes later they went behind. Ji laid off a pass to Millie Bright who hit a glorious curling effort from outside of the box past Ellie Roebuck to give Chelsea the lead.
Emma Hayes then began to make changes and introduced FAWSL Player of the Year Beth England for Sam Kerr and the terrier like Scottish star Erin Cuthbert for Fran Kirby. England made her presence felt immediately going on a trademark run before finding Ji, but Roebuck saved comfortably. Shortly afterwards England fired an effort over.

Chelsea were in control in the final twenty minutes and Ji combined well with Cuthbert down the right before Houghton intercepted the former Glasgow City player’s attempted ball to England.
Finally in stoppage time, the West Londoners added a second when Ji combined with Maren Mjelde. The Norwegian played in a pass towards Beth England who slid in with Houghton. The ball found its way to Cuthbert’s feet and the Scot doesn’t miss those sorts of opportunities.

Chelsea will be delighted to take the honours from the game, but ultimately, come May very few people will remember the outcome of the Community Shield. The FAWSL restarts next weekend, and one thing is certain – it’s going to be the strongest competition yet. Get strapped in, hold on tight because the roller-coaster ride is about to start.

CHELSEA: Berger, Eriksson, Bright, Ingle, Mjelde, Ji, Reiten, Leupolz, Andersson, Kirby, Kerr.
Substitutes: Thorisdottir, Blundell, Carter, England (for Kerr), Fleming (for Andersson), Charles (for Reiten), Cuthbert (for Kirby), Spence, Telford (GK).
Scorers: Bright 66, Cuthbert 90.

MANCHESTER CITY: Roebuck, Stokes, Bonner, Houghton, Morgan, Walsh, Weir, Scott, Stanway, Kelly, Hemp.
Substitutes: Bardsley (GK), Campbell, Coombs, Beckie (for Hemp), Park, White (for Stanway), Mewis (for Weir), Benameur.